Some Favorite Fall Recipes!

With the weather getting cooler and spending a little more time inside, I’ve made it a goal of mine to get more creative in the kitchen!
Cooking has always been a love of mine; but I’ll be honest… I hate wasting a perfectly good day inside when the weather is beautiful outside!
Cooking healthy, nutrient dense foods is a top priority of mine. Not only does it make me feel good (mentally) knowing that I’m fueling my body with all the “good” foods, but also physically too!
Obviously “everything in moderation” is important when it comes to food…but cooking with whole foods and minimizing process foods is always a good habit to have! So here are some of the most recent recipes that I’ve been dabbling with, and have been a success in the Morris household!

Copycat Peanut Butter Pumpkin Reese’s
Sweet treats have a special way to my heart…I hate to admit it…BUT IT’S TRUE! I made a version of these copycat Reese’s back around easter time and LOVED THEM. So, why not make them festive again and turn them into Pumpkins!
I know I’m not the only person who likes the seasonal Reese’s anything (hello more peanut butter filling(: )

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Candies made with plant-based, grain-free and gluten-free ingredients. Plus they have extra protein in them!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yup, another pumpkin recipe! Tis the season to make everything pumpkin.
I love making this recipe as both a bread and muffins! They’re so tasty (and guilt free) that Kwin and I usually finish the batch off within days.

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breadwith Collagen Peptides for an easy and healthy pumpkin bread recipe, perfect for breakfast or snacking!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Dairy-Free + Gluten-Free)
Who else has tried countless cauliflower pizza recipes, and had MULTIPLE failures? I know I can’t be the only one…
Pizza is Kwin’s favorite meal, so trying to make a “healthier” version for us both to enjoy has been a goal of mine. Well I’m pleased to announce that Rachel Mansfield has done it AGAIN! This recipe was a huge success, and is now a staple in our household meal plan.

gluten free cauliflower crust

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake
Such a quick and easy recipe to make! I love spaghetti squash, Kwin on the other hand isn’t the biggest fan. Win for Megan! He absolutely LOVED this recipe!

Bowl of cheesy low carb spaghetti squash taco bake topped with veggies.

15-Minute Crispy Chicken (GF, DF)
How could one go wrong with a good crispy chicken tender? Like HELLO CHILDHOOD FAVORITE!
The breading of store-bought chicken tenders are usually disgusting and leaves me feeling so sluggish/gross afterwards. Rachael Devoux is a genius when it comes to making “healthy” swaps on favorite recipes. Thanks to ‘Simple Mills’ crackers for the breading mixture, plus Flax Seeds (added protein &Fiber!) and this is also a new favorite.

Simple Cashew Chicken Stir-fry
I tried this one out on a limb because Kwin was craving a ‘Chinese’ dish. It was super easy to make and very tasty!

VEGAN CURRY RAMEN NOODLES
OH MY GOSHHHHH this recipe is a must! Especially with the cooler weather coming in and soups making more of an appearance on the meal plan. My mom made this for us after Fitz was born; and Kwin&I about died.
Ramen noodles use to be a guilty pleasure of mine growing up.
If you like curry… MAKE THIS…you won’t regret it!

Overhead shot of two bowls of curry ramen noodle soup garnished with fresh cilantro

General Tso’s Tofu
Another ‘Chinese’ dish for Kwin; and we both really liked it! If you aren’t into Tofu, you can easily swap it out for a different plant based protein or even chicken!

An overhead shot of a dish with white rice and general Tso's tofu on top

Ultimate Vegan 7-Layer Dip
HOLY COW, this seven layer dip was AMAZING! Tastes just like a seven layer dip…except with some homemade vegan sour cream!
This would be a huge hit for a football game or any other type of get-together.

the best vegan 7 layer dip | RECIPE by hot for food

Sweet Potato Toast
Such a simple breakfast alternative to toast! The sweet potatoes provide extra micro and macronutrients profile that a piece of toast is lacking.
This has become a new favorite of mine- topped with Almond Butter or Avocado is what I like best(:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Toast 4 Ways on a gray countertop

A little copyright note… I am not a food blogger, nor do I take aesthetically appealing photos of my food (let’s be honest I’m usually too hungry for that and forget!) All the pictures in this blog are from the original recipes! So all rights go to the original authors(:

Things Are Getting Serious…Recovery is Real!

Alright, never did I EVER think I would be writing this blog. But truth be told, I’m feeling really confident today and have had this overwhelming feeling like telling my story will not only help me continue in my recovery, but may help others too! So here goes nothing…

Growing up I was an active young girl. I played competitive soccer and volleyball, I ran for fun, swam in my backyard, biked with all my friends and well pretty much did anything outside! I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. One could say, I lived a pretty “normal” childhood. I had great friends and family; whom always supported me and provided nothing but encouragement and a positive environment to grow up in.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school that things began to change.

  • I was being recruited to play collegiate soccer (stressor #1)
  • Changing soccer teams [this meant leaving the team I had played with since I was 8 years old] and going to a team that would help prepare my for the collegiate level (stressor #2)
  • Dealing with some friendship issues (stressor #3)
  • Rebelling out against my mom [She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, but we clashed heads a lot. Especially in my high school years] (stressor #4)
  • I was letting my perfectionism get to the best of me-especially regarding school grades (stressor #5)

So all of this added up and I felt like I had completely lost control of my life. UNTIL….I found that I could control what I ate! This meant how much, what kinds of foods, etc. I took this and ran with it! So from June 2011 to about January 2012, I had lost a significant amount of weight. Because I was only 17, I was still considered a minor. So my parents decided to do what was best for me at the time, and get me some help! This meant going away to an inpatient hospital program for about 1.5 months to fully recover. While there I was able to gain all the weight back that I had lost, but never truly learned how to control WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! I graduated the hospital program and a couple months later graduated from high school too!

Fast forward a couple years, I was now in college and living the best life! The summer of 2014 I got accepted to work [as a Nurse Tech] at the hospital I ALWAYS wanted to work in when I graduated Nursing school. So I packed my bags and moved in with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle for the summer! Not only was I finally living in my dream town (Elk Rapids, Michigan) but that summer I also met my now husband<3. Life was going great and I was truly living the dream!

Until that following spring….my papa, whom I was very close to, lost his battle with Dementia and passed away. I was lost, HOW could he be gone? This is when things went downhill again…

 

  • My papa passing away (stressor #1)
  • Nursing school, which is incredibly tough! (stressor #2)
  • The societal ‘norms’ of having a perfect body (stressor #3)

I went back to my controlling habits. This time it wasn’t only food, it was also over exercising! From June 2015-February 2016 I was eating MAYBE 1000 calories a day [being VERY strict about counting calories, and habitual about what I ate.] I had to get in ATLEAST one seriously demanding workout a day, usually about 60 minutes in duration + running all the time! Phew, just writing that is giving me anxiety again!

By the time February came around, my husband [boyfriend at the time] was threatening to leave me, I had become incredibly antisocial, had lost a ton of weight again, and was depressed. With the encouragement of my husband and family I seeked out help. This time I went through an outpatient program [that way I could finish out Nursing school…especially because I was graduating that April.] Man, I’m so glad I did! The difference between this program and the previous one was night and day. The counselors actually dug deep into WHAT the problem was and WHY I was acting the way I was. They helped me to learn to balance my eating habits, and good coping mechanisms for stressful times. I “graduated” from the outpatient program at the same time as Nursing school and truly felt like a new women!

Fast forward again to now! I’ve been “recovered” since May 2016, but I say recovered gently. I still have days where I feel crummy about my body, where I want to restrict food, and compare myself to others. But I use the tools I learned on a daily basis to keep me from going into that dark place again. What I put my body through was absolute hell, and the fact that I’m still here and able to do all the wonderful things I do [like bike, run, workout, yoga, cook, etc] is a true testament to how strong the human body can be. I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! CHEERS TO THAT!

Today’s society has some pretty harsh ‘norms’ which can be misleading and devastating to the younger generations. Praising the skinny, lean models and bashing the fuller, curvy women. Its so wrong! Not only that, but all the “quick-fix” diets that are around too…ugh it just disgusts me! One thing I’ve learned from my past experiences is that being present and appreciating the things in life that you DO have are what makes life so amazing.

To this day, I’m still struggling with some of the long term effects of having an eating disorder….but that’s for another post. I hope this helps anyone who is currently struggling! Just know, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT THE WORK IN TO SEE THE BENEFITS!

 

2018, A Years Reflection

A year of grieving, struggles, and hardships.

A year of growing mentally and physically EVERYDAY.

A year of rekindling relations with family and friends.

A year of traveling to new and old places.

A year of creating new traditions and and living life to the fullest!

Reflecting back, 2018 has taught me so many useful lessons that I’ll be able to use the rest of my life. I’ve learned how to handle tragedy, and stressors that are out of my control. I’ve learned that some of the best moments are those in the most unexpected times. And lastly, I’ve learned to just be present and that everything happens for a reason.

Grieving

 Grieving is a beautiful process. Losing family members sucks. I won’t lie, it was horrible and almost broke some of my family members. But it also brought us closer together. We supported each other, and tried to make light of the difficult situation. We shared all the good stories of those lost. And most importantly, accepted each others ways of grieving and helped each other through them. I love my family, and cannot imagine going through life without them.

I wanted to thank my family for being such rocks during this stressful time. I love you all so much, and always remember that Uncle Kevin and Uncle Nathan are watching over us everyday!

 

We also recently had to put down or beloved Dawson Marie. She was not just a dog, she was our little girl. Kwin has owned Dawson for 15 years now….YES he was only a Junior in High School! She went through so many major life events with him, and 5 years ago I was able to join the family too! Dawson was a sassy, determined, and stubborn girl…unlike any dog I’ve ever met! I’m going to miss her constant panting, which she did to make sure everyone knew she was in the room. I’m going to miss her smile, and those big brown eyes of hers. I’m going to miss my hiking buddy, because when I joined the family us two stuck together. And lastly, I’m going to miss just seeing her around the house everyday. A piece of my heart is gone now, but I’m so thankful for all the memories that we’ve got with her to always look back on. Dawson, you’ll NEVER be forgotten<3

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Mental Growth 

I’ve had some struggles with my health in the past. Honestly, it is quite embarrassing looking back at it now, but being upset does more harm than good.I’ve began looking at every situation I’m given in life and truly analyzing them to find the silver lining. This years health debacle, has taught me to CHILL OUT! It’s okay to not always be ‘GO, GO GO.’ It’s okay to have good and bad days- the bad ones really make you appreciate the good ones! And it’s okay to NOT be perfect. By having the mindset I use to have my stress levels were through the roof and effecting other parts of my health. As I sit here today, I can honestly say that my mental health has grown leaps and bounds from a year ago!

Traveling 

What year in review would this be without the awesome adventures that Kwin and I have had this year?!

  • We’ve made countless trips to the Upper Peninsula- Skiing in Marquette, spring trip to the cabin, camping in the summer, and annual fall color trip! That place sure is magical.

 

  • We traveled to North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington DC to visit Kwin’s sister

 

  • Explored new territory in Canada, just before Kwin and the other paddlers of Stand Up For Great Lakes crossed Lake Superior!

 

  • A new puppy joined our family, Miss Kopper! She was born on Kwin and I’s 1 year anniversary…HOW COOL(:

 

  • Hiked the North Country trail, where we did some backcountry camping cliffside!

 

Reflecting on my 2018 Goals!

  1. Be More Eco Friendly– I THINK THIS WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! Kwin and I really made a conscious effort to make this one happen.
    • We installed solar panels on our house, which has made a HUGE decrease in our carbon thumbprint! SHOUTOUT TO Solectriq for installing this for us!
    • We also have picked up our recycling game by having an in house recycle bin
    • Decreased our food waste by composting!
    • Traded out all our Tupperware containers for glass ones!
    • Reusable produce bags for grocery shopping. I got THESE from amazon
    • Reusable sandwich lunch bags. I got THESE form amazon also!
  2. Read More– I’m happy to report that this was a success as well! I finished 13 books this year, which surpassed my goal of 12! Reading is a great way to de-stress, end the night and continue to learn cool things.
  3. Yoga– This was hit or miss…I would go in phases of doing yoga everyday and then not. I love doing it, and feel so much better when I do! I can feel my stress levels going down, and my body is less “tight.” I definitely plan on continuing to work on this in the upcoming year.
  4. Building my Blog Platform– Well, I can’t do it all! This one defiantly was put on the back burning the second half of the year. In fact, the second part of the year I tried to decrease my use of ALL social media. I felt like it was adding to my stress levels, and wanted to put my health first. I also was un-encouraged and felt like my material was the same EVERY TIME. I’m hoping that this year I can get back into being more consistent and think of more content to blog about.
  5. Increase my cooking creativity and eat more wholesome foods– I would like to say this was a success (and I hope that Kwin would agree too!) Diet has a HUGE role in your overall health, and given that I was really working on healing myself this year, I took my cooking and food intake seriously! I love cooking and defiantly will continue this into the new year.
  6. Increase my knowledge of Holistic Health– Learning is one of my favorite things…yes, nerd alert! I would say that probably half of the books I read this year we’re all related to holistic health of some sort. I’ve also started seeing a Naturopathic Dr. (Thank you Dr. Abbey) to heal myself, and she is so great! Always educating me and willing to answer my millions of question. I truly feel that our healthcare will make the change to more of a preventative form of medicine through Holistic Medicine!

2018, you were challenging…but probably one of the biggest years of growth! I’m thankful for everything that happened this year and challenged me to be a better person!

I also wanted to thank my amazing husband, Kwin, for his constant support and love. Without him, all the challenges and frustrations that I’ve faced would have been 1000x harder!

Thank you for reading! I hope you all enjoy the remainder of the 2018 year  with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!